This month we held our second Lucre Group Ideas & Insight session looking at the Food & Drink sector. The title was Provenance vs Price: The Future of British Food Post-Brexit. A very relevant topic in the current uncertainty of whether Brexit will be an opportunity or a challenge for food manufacturers, retailers and ultimately, customers.
We held the event in the stunning setting of the National Association of British and Irish Millers which backs onto Green Park in central London and has the Ritz as its neighbour. We invited a host of food industry experts from a variety of businesses, including Iceland, British Pepper & Spice, Sacla, Hellmans, Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Yorkshire Farmhouse Eggs and the Quality Food Awards.
They all came to listen to four speakers who looked at different angles to the British food debate.
Margaret McSorley Walker, a food trends consultant for major FMCG brands and supermarkets including Asda and M&S, talked through emerging British food trends from butter and seaweed to quark and cold-smoked chocolate. We had a personal tasting session from James Swift of his award-winning British Trealy Farm Charcuterie. We were inspired by Fraser Doherty’s story on how he set up SuperJam when he was just 16-years-old and looked at the hard realities of shopper behaviour and retailer strategies from retail commentator, Bryan Roberts.
The consensus was that British food is living through an increasingly interesting, exciting and challenging time. Brexit could offer some opportunities for British food manufacturers as it becomes cheaper to source home-grown products but it’s important to always keep a close eye on costs and pricing. British customers like the idea of British-made food but the weekly shopping bill is still tightly controlled, and shoppers won’t tolerate large hikes in prices.
All in all, it was a fascinating look at the issues surrounding British food and the likely impact of Brexit which is causing a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is certain…we have some brilliant food producers in the UK both big and small, and we should be doing everything we can to celebrate them.
You can see some highlights of the event in this video.